Washington Misses Out on Chance for Queens vs. Queens

Joe Crowley’s loss means no New York state of mind for Pennsylvania Avenue

Back in the day: Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, D-N.Y., right, joins Joseph Crowley in 1986 at Crowley’s victory party for winning a seat in the New York State Assembly. (Courtesy Rep. Joseph Crowley’s office/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Back in the day: Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, D-N.Y., right, joins Joseph Crowley in 1986 at Crowley’s victory party for winning a seat in the New York State Assembly. (Courtesy Rep. Joseph Crowley’s office/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Jason Dick
Posted June 29, 2018 at 9:00am

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Ah, what could have been: Two boisterous guys from Queens hurling insults at one another. 

When Rep. Joseph Crowley lost his Democratic primary this week, the chance that the Democratic Caucus chairman might be speaker sometime during the administration of another guy from Queens — President Donald Trump — went up in so much smoke. 

The two men have offered small morsels of what could have been, making the loss all that more bitter. 

“Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place, just LOST his primary election. In other words, he’s out! That is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!” Trump taunt-tweeted Tuesday night after Crowley’s loss to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

“Don the Con” and “Con Man Don” was how Crowley referred to Trump during the 2016 GOP convention in Cleveland, when the Democrat was there as part of his party’s counter-programming efforts. 

Crowley, center, appeared with fellow Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Ryan at the GOP convention to criticize Donald Trump. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Crowley, center, appears with Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Tim Ryan of Ohio at the 2016 GOP convention to criticize Donald Trump. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Of course, that would have meant three outer-borough New Yorkers in top leadership slots along Pennsylvania Avenue. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is a proud Brooklynite. (As are Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders,  Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Minnesota Sens. Al Franken and Norm Coleman.)

And Schumer has never been shy about stoking some outer-borough rivalry with Trump. 

Changing Times

So what happened to Crowley? What happened to all that New York political machine influence? Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales broke it down with me on the most recent Political Theater podcast.

Podcast: New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Joe Crowley Down

The Kicker

UNITED STATES - APRIL 4:
Crowley, bassist and vocalist for the “Hill Band,” plays in the Sirius XM studios in April 2011. His band was there to record a track to be played at the Recording Academy’s annual “GRAMMYs on the Hill” event. Band members recorded “A Little Revival” by songwriter Radney Foster and producer Darrell Brown. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)